Sunday, December 4, 2011

Waking Up

Ever since my birthday, and the dreaded "birthday backache,"  I've been feeling a little off kilter.
It was almost as though the time change and the shorter days and decreased sunshine forced me into a kind of hibernation mode. I could feel myself turning inward. My ability to reach out, and even to get out and visit with friends and family, which is usually such a pleasure for me, was taking a backseat to my need to preserve what energy I had for the day to day business of living. I was wrapped up in my own head and quite preoccupied with my own little world.

This isn't an ideal space for me to be in. While I realize that there is an element of self-preservation about my particular form of hibernation, it's hard not to feel a little guilty about it. I don't like feeling ungenerous and stingy with my affection.  Plus, I just don't like spending that much time and energy wrapped up in my own little world. I mean, I can only stand so much of myself, you know what I mean?

So this had been going on for a good couple of weeks. Generally, I sort of slowly feel the effect of this funk wearing off. I can feel myself slowly thawing out as my usual enthusiasm for life lights up again.

But a couple of days ago, I received some news that jarred me, rather abruptly and painfully, out of my self-preservation mode. There's nothing like knowing that one of your dearest friends is experiencing a devastating loss to drag you out of the cave of your own self-involvement. Hearing of her loss almost instantly shifted my life into perspective again. She needs me. And I need to be there for her.

As I was running yesterday (my first run in almost two weeks!) I sort of felt like I was in training. And not for a road race.  I actually felt like I was in training  to make sure my friendship muscle was in good working order. I was actually making lists inside my head of things I needed to do to be the best friend I could be. Lindy, I said to myself, you've gotta make sure you exercise regularly, eat right and get enough rest so you can be in top form. Clear your mind and open your heart, Lindy, so you can really be present.

And while I felt a little silly making these lists I realized that it's worth it. It's worth some effort to think about the kind of friend, or the kind of person, I want to be. These connections we have with each other are really the most important things we have. We honor each other, and ourselves, by sharing each others lives. By taking care of each other, we also take care of ourselves. And if that isn't worth a little work, I don't know what is.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Acknowledging the Duality

Today I turned 41.

And I'm okay with that. Really. Or at least I thought I was. Until I woke up this morning with severe lower back pain. Ouch!

"Lindy", my body said, "I know you thought you were okay with this getting older stuff. But you really need to admit that you have some fears and doubts about aging. And the only way to get you to acknowledge this stuff sometimes is to make you a little uncomfortable. Now you know the drill. Deal with these feelings! Now!"

The week leading up to my birthday was phenomenal. I was feeling lucky to be where I was in life and full of appreciation for my supportive family and friends and my community. My place in the world here by the sea. I mean, I had my niggling insecurities about getting older, but I was determined to focus my energy on the happy, positive bits about being 41.

The weekend leading up to my birthday I did all kinds of fun things. I listened to live music. I danced with my friends. I got the world's most perfect buzz-on. I hiked with friends and family to one of the most beautiful spots on Moose Island. Twice. I felt loved, adored and appreciated by everyone around me. And I loved adored, and appreciated right back at 'em.

But today,  my actual birthday,  I was hurting.

This symptom was not exactly new to me. It has occurred before when I've been experiencing life changes. It even happened last year on my birthday. So this year it was right on cue. I decided to call my yoga instructor and have a little chat.

During this conversation, I took a deep breath and acknowledged that my body was trying to tell me something was wrong. And that I was so busy focusing on the positive that I was leaving no room to acknowledge the parts of me that were feeling less then positive.

My instructor encouraged me to embrace the duality that is me. To acknowledge that yes, I am blessed to be where I am in my life. But that there is always a flip side. There is sadness, pain, fear, grief and loss. And it's okay. This is me. These things, as well as the abundance of all that is good in my life, is what makes me who I am.

So I decided to spend the day contemplating and acknowledging some of the things that were causing me sadness. And here are some of the things I was thinking about today:

  • I am not always liking the changes in my body and my face. It doesn't matter that I am more comfortable in my own skin then I was when I was twenty. I even feel more attractive now than I did when I was twenty. But the fact of the matter is that my skin is losing its elasticity. My jaw line is softening. My hands look different. I have lots of cellulite. This culture is obsessed with youth and beauty. I am scared that looking older will make me invisible to the rest of the world. So no matter how okay I am with the changes, the rest of the world is not. I don't want to be invisible. 
  • Another year wiser, yes. But let's face it. I'm another year closer to death. And quite honestly, I like living. 
  • I try to be an authentic person. I want to be an authentic person. When I felt my back yelling at me this morning, I was scared I wasn't really the authentic person I thought I was. I had to entertain the possibility that life isn't about moving forward all the time. It isn't necessarily about overcoming things. It's about being able to move back and forth between the dualities of who we are. To acknowledge the dark and the light. I can feel lucky, blessed, and shitty, too.
So my birthday was pretty much spent just letting go and feeling some of the sadness, grief and fear that was obviously needing my attention. These are parts of me that need nurturing too, I guess.

And while this may not sound like much of a way to spend a birthday, in all actuality, it was probably one of the greatest gifts I could have given myself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Sweet and Low Down

October has come and gone. Hard to believe it's November, especially with a day like today. Absolutely gorgeous. I made sure to take a nice hike with Patrick this morning after I returned from my commute to Machias. Nothing works out the kinks like knitting by the sea, the sound of the waves lapping the shore. The smell in the air a mix of ocean and woodsmoke. The sun shines warm on my head (which is clad in a ridiculous safety orange hat!). 

It's been a busy time. Halloween is serious business in these parts, so I spent a fair amount of time fashioning our family's costumes. What else has been happening around here?

  • Continued shingling of the mudroom and readying the house for winter.
  • Kieran is enjoying learning to write and identify letters. He'll be busying himself with one of his workbooks when suddenly he'll nonchalantly say, "Hey, Mom, wanna see something?" He'll then proceed to write a new letter while I practically shriek with delight "I had no idea you knew the letter M! I'm so proud of you!" It's a pretty fun game.
  • The boy has also taken to camping out in the house. Literally. The tent started out in our bedroom. We then moved it to his bedroom (after propping the bed against the wall to free up enough space). It has since moved to the playroom. He loves sleeping in there. And I figure, why not?
  • I made two pretty new pillow covers for the living room couch. 
  • I also knit myself a winter hat from some really yummy Malabrigo yarn. God, I love that stuff!
  • The chickens have really slowed down with the egg production, which is a bummer. 
  • I am loving, absolutely loving, Friday Night Lights. Have you seen this show? If you haven't, you should. I pretty much have a crush on every single character, male and female. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose!
  • I have become pretty attached to the idea that I should have a pair of Ugg boots. These are cool, and they would be so, so warm. Plus, they would last forever.  
  • It looks like some of my handiwork will be available at a cool shop in Portland. Stay tuned for more on that. 
  • My interest in the stars has actually caused me to crack a book. This book, specifically. Yes, I seem to learn best from the guy who wrote Curious George (you wanna make something of it?!). Heron, Kieran and I were out last night with our binoculars scoping out the sky. The moon was pretty bright so it wasn't the best time to be stargazing. But to see Kieran holding those binoculars up to his face with those little hands, exclaiming his own delight in the heavens above us, was truly touching. I love how interested he is in the world around him, and how he is obviously trying to figure out his place in it. God, how I love that child.
  • My birthday is just around the corner. Me and the girls are cooking up some debauchery for this weekend. I can't wait!

The hat? Kilter by Alex Tinsley. Love her stuff!

Damn, but I do look hot in hunter orange.

Yes, these are the types of views I'm subjected to day in and day out. It's a tough life, I assure you.

The wizard.

The sea witch.

The gorilla. Bananas Gorilla from the Richard Scarry books, to be exact. Yeah, he looks ridiculous, I know. But hey, I tried. And he was an awfully good sport!

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Moment

I thought I'd link up with Amanda Blake Soule of SouleMama today and participate in her Friday ritual, this moment

A single photo, no words, capturing a simple, special moment from my week that I'd like to savor and enjoy.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marking the Moments

There are times, like yesterday when I was sitting and staring out at the sea, that I realize I'm probably not going to remember that moment forever. So I just try to take in as much as I can. I breathe more slowly. I am amazed by the eagles flying overhead and how red the mountain ash berries have become. The way Patrick keeps sniffing the air like he's receiving a special message. All you can do is enjoy it. Really enjoy it. Let it wash over you. Because chances are, in a whole lifetime of moments, that moment will be lost.

Each day is made up of so many of these moments. Some special. Some not quite so special. But then there are those moments that remain vivid. Special hashmarks along the time line that makes up our lives. Like the other day...

...I was pretty cranky. I had decided I should go for a run. Wouldn't you know it? I couldn't find my headphones. Well, this was almost enough to stop me in my tracks. Almost. I was so cranky my stubbornness took over. I would not let the missing earphones stop me from my running, dammit!

Substitute earphones jammed over my ears, along with an orange wool cap, I set off.

As I headed toward Dog Island, I saw it. The most gorgeous, full rainbow. And it seemed to be growing more brilliant with each second. I kept looping around the cul-de-sac so I could enjoy it, pausing every once in a while to just stare at the rainbow spanning from Deer Island way over to Campobello. I usually don't meet many cars on my run, but folks seemed to want to catch a closeup of this afternoon treat. And Dog Island was a most supreme viewing spot.

Seeing this rainbow, at that moment in time, had a profound effect on me for some reason. Maybe it was hormones.  Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in from my run. Who knows? But as I witnessed that rainbow and the light play on the golden trees of Campobello, I felt so good.

Do you ever have those moments when all is right with the world? When you feel you are at your very best? Well, I was having one of those moments. I could feel my resilience, strength, power, love, wisdom, compassion, and a deep sense of faith in all that is good in the world. The certainty that everything was going to be okay.

I've had other moments like this. Moments that I can only describe as spiritual. Oftentimes they happen in nature. Like the time in New Mexico when the wind was bending our tent poles so severely that we had to camp out under the stars. I will never forget looking up into that huge sky, smiling like a loon as the wind washed over me and told me secrets about my life. How my life would be full of good fortune and love.

Other times, the moments don't happen in nature, but are just as profound and will stay with me forever. Like the time I told my future husband, just days after we met, that I was absolutely and insanely crazy for him (in a good way!). I can't remember another time in my life where time actually stood still.

When I held my sons in my arms for the very first time, I was completely at peace and so certain of my love and my ability to care for and nurture these little boys. Given the fact that I had had virtually no experience with children or babies meant absolutely nothing. These babes in my arms just felt so right.

Remembering these moments helps me. When I am feeling not so resilient or hopeful, these memories are my touchstones. They remind me how good and powerful I can feel and how much love there is in this world. They remind me of my strength. And they remind me that even a simple life lived on a small coastal island is full of adventure.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Estate Sale, Seals, and Shaggy Manes

Boy, we've hit the jackpot with fabulous weekends around here lately!

Picking away at the chores in a leisurely fashion, along with plenty of relaxation and fun, make for the best weekends in my opinion.

Most of our chores this weekend consisted of the outside variety. Yes, I do believe we'll be preparing for winter until the snow flies, if not after! But we're getting there. I've made a pretty sizable dent in the wood pile, and Heron and Kieran have completed the trim on the mudroom. It shouldn't take them long to shingle it.

My neighbor surprised me with a bag of yarn she'd picked up at an estate sale. Isn't that sweet? Lucky for us that's just the kind of neighbor Mary Ann is.

This got me pretty excited. A house full of goodies, all of it for sale, sounds pretty magical to a thrifter like myself! Kieran and I dropped our work gloves and headed on down to check it out.

Turns out, the woman who lived there had been a crafter, knitter, and avid sewer. There were beautiful knitting needles, fabric, ribbon, thread, yarn, and lots of other crafting gear. Kieran patiently and carefully looked around with me, and at times commented, "This woman had a lot of stuff!"

I learned from her son that the woman had been ill for a long time. A shut in who did a lot of shopping online. I think she may have been a bit of a hoarder. She had moved away from Eastport a couple of years before and had died in another state. Minnessota, maybe? I can't remember now. Her name was Morgan. I don't believe I ever laid eyes on her even though she lived in town for twelve years.

It was strange roaming through her house looking at all of her things. Among the crafting supplies and knick knacks (and lots and lots of other stuff) were handwritten notes and tubes of lipbalm. I couldn't help but wonder what her life had been like. 

I left with a couple of things, including some fabric and vintage ribbon. Kieran found a pack of 64 Crayola crayons. I wished her son well. Although he seemed to be in good spirits, it must have been bittersweet for him to see people picking over all that remained of his mother's life.

I knit this safety orange neckband for Patrick.
Saturday night saw us at a bonfire, beer and brats party with a great group of friends. It was such fun to catch up with folks I hadn't seen in awhile, and I laughed till my belly hurt. Mostly at myself, but still, a laugh is a laugh, right?!

Kieran enjoyed spending Sunday with his grandparents in Trescott. Heron and I worked outside, with me taking lots of knitting and coffee breaks. Later in the afternoon Patrick and I headed out for an adventure (which is where all the photos in this post were taken). We started at Reggie's Beach. The tide was very low so we were able to walk along the shore to Dog Island and ended up all the way at Treasure Beach, at the end of Clark Street.

We took our sweet time, and spied shags, gulls, an eagle, and seals. I tried talking to the seals, inviting them to come closer to shore so we could make friends. But they seemed to be happy right where they were, about 75 yards or so off shore.

As we made our way back up Clark Street we discovered a pretty good-sized patch of shaggy manes (funny looking little white-capped mushrooms). I've heard they're good eating. But since I don't like eating mushrooms, I prefer to imagine that this patch of 'shrooms is home to tiny gnomes and wee faeries.

Patrick did a little exploring all his own, apparently. When we got home I noticed that he was sporting a most powerful dead fish odor. After plopping him in the sink and sudsing him up twice, he still smells pretty gnarly. Ah, well. It was worth it.

He stinks, but I love him!
Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Graduation Day

Well, we did it! Patrick and I graduated from the Basic Obedience Class we have been taking for the past six weeks!

This is us on Graduation Night. Don't we look happy? Patrick even got a haircut in order to look his best for this special occasion. I must tell you that he got lots of compliments.

This accomplishment is no small feat. It has been a big commitment on both our parts. The class is held one evening a week in Machias, which puts me back in the car for an extra two hours. Not to mention the expense of the class itself and the money for gas. Then there is practicing each day, which isn't really a hardship but it is something that must be done daily.

After the first class I wasn't sure we'd be able to stick it out. But I was pretty determined, and I must say I'm so glad that we did. I was incredibly impressed with our instructor, Betsy Newman. Her teaching style was one that I responded to immediately. She broke everything down in such a way that not only did we understand what we were doing and how to achieve that goal, but why we're doing it the way we're doing it.  This helps us to understand a bit better how our dogs think and feel. It also helps that she has a wonderful sense of humor and an obvious adoration for the dogs.

Now, it's no secret that I absolutely adore Patrick, and am thankful daily that I decided to share our home with him. But through this class, our bond has strengthened. Learning the basic rules of obedience can only be achieved with patience, trust, and respect. I feel a new respect and appreciation for Patrick's abilities that might not have happened if not for the class. I was so moved and inspired by this class that I submitted a student comment to Betsy's website. Please check it out if you like.

Oh, yeah, and we're not stopping at just Basic. We're movin' on up to Intermediate! Woot!

Most of our dogs are just waiting to be taken home to the mother ship...
And just for giggles, today I think I'd like to step over the boundary of "way too much information" and share the fact that today....

....I had a root canal!

Here's me in my special goggles and bib after they numbed me up.
Let it be known that I've had lots of work done on my teeth in recent years. I do believe the view of this overhead lamp from my reclining chair is burned on my brain.  In the center of this light is the word "Belmont." It is highly possible that the last word uttered from my lips on my deathbed will indeed by "Belmont." You know, sort of like "Rosebud..."

I look pretty chipper for someone who's going to get the nerves of her tooth pulled out of her head! Honestly, though, if there is such a thing as enjoying going to the dentist, I actually do, which is sort of a miracle and a blessing! They are easygoing and super friendly, not to mention fabulous at their jobs. Shout out to the crew at Dr. Brian Hoops office in Woodland! Yeah!
I think my work here is done!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Since Kieran has begun attending Montessori school 50 minutes away, I have been in the car a lot more than usual (luckily, my dear friend does the bulk of the driving).  But it looks like a schedule change means that I will be in the car even more. Oh well. Living where we do, you kind of have to accept the fact that you need to drive. Thankfully, we have a reliable car (with the exception of the battery dying the other day!) that I enjoy driving. I call her Bridget.

At any rate, I took Kieran to school today. After I dropped him off I treated myself to doughnuts at a little place in Machias called the Towne Fryer. I chose the old-fashioned plain, and oh my gosh...absolute heaven! You must try these When I returned home after my run this evening, my husband (rather gleefully) informed me that the doughnut maker himself had called. Apparently, instead of filling out a check for the $4 charge, I had written out a check in the amount of $400! Can you believe this? Now, this was before my morning coffee, but still! Sheesh!  At least it gives me an excuse to stop into the shop again...

Once sated with coffee and doughnuts (and a little thrifting, too!) I struck out for the return drive to Eastport. It being a gorgeous, sunny fall day, I decided to take the time to stop and take some pictures of a couple of things that have stood out to me on this commute. For example, this lone bull in a large, green field. The field is mostly grass, but also includes some blueberry barrens, which have turned that fall crimson color. I love the way he watched me as I snapped pics of him. From a very, very safe distance, I might add.

This field happens to abut the cemetery where one set of my grandparents is buried. I decided to park in the cemetery to take some pics of the bull, then decided to take a few photos of the cemetery itself. I happen to appreciate cemeteries. My dad is an amateur genealogist, and ever since I can remember he and my mom would drive one of our jalopies down endless dirt roads in search of grave markers. I distinctly remember the thick dust from the road rising up through the floorboards. I didn't appreciate this at the time, but apparently a love of cemeteries creeped in there along the way. So quiet, so peaceful. The stones. The stories.

My next stop was this old, abandoned building that has intrigued me ever since I was a small child. For some reason, it reminds me a bit of an adobe structure that you might find out west. Or, that's what I thought when I was a kid, anyway.

Lastly, I simply must share with you my thrifting score of the day.

A new ottoman to go with my $2 chair. Isn't she a beauty? Look at those colors!

I must admit that though I don't like to be in the car this much, as commutes go, this one is really quite lovely.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Thoroughly Wholesome Weekend

Yes, our weekend saw us spending the bulk of our time outside (thankfully the weather cooperated wonderfully) in activities of the thoroughly wholesome variety.

I mean, what could be more wholesome then touring a local farm, hanging out at the beach, and pressing apple cider? Not much, I can tell you.

Kilby Ridge Farm in Dennysville was having an open farm day, and that is where we found ourselves on Saturday afternoon. Since I made the decision to buy more of our food locally, we've been enjoying some of the delicious vegetables that this farm produces.  As I strolled around the grounds of this beautiful farm (which looks out over the Denys River) I felt so good knowing that this is where some of our food comes from. I also got the chance to speak to the farmers from Old Sow Farm and Creamery, a local dairy farm. We have been loving their milk, and their yogurt is delicious, too.

Kieran ran all over the farm with his friends.
Could we be any more wholesome?

Those at the farm were treated to music by Heron and his jazz trio. Don't they look happy?

Kieran, Patrick and I capped off the day with a walk to the beach. Kieran crawled around on the rocks while I sat in the late afternoon sun and worked on my neverending wool poncho.

Wholesome, downeast Maine boy.
The kids enjoy a wholesome tractor ride at the cider pressing party.
My friend has the most gorgeous, auburn hair I've ever seen. It's like mermaid hair!
The kids are crawling all over the apple trees.

Yup, we Westons are a wholesome bunch!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.